A ‘No Silver Bullets’ approach to weight loss

Paul Ainsworth
Written by Paul Ainsworth

Every time I look on social media, I see a new answer for how I can transform my body. It could be a certain sort of tea, a supplement, a particular exercise class or a piece of equipment. I am sure that we have all been tempted by these and at times have purchased items which now sit in the back of cupboards.

All through my working life I have been guilty of searching for the magic answers and solutions. I work in the education sector and I have heard so many school leaders talk about certain strategies that will transform schools. In the past I was eager to implement such ideas in the hope that it would revolutionise the school I was in. I call these ‘silver bullets’.

If I think back earlier to childhood years, I can remember the first example of silver bullets that I was aware of. I vividly remember reading a piece in the local newspaper about why Liverpool was the pre-eminent football team of the time. The first reason was that they practiced in small teams on small pitches so that the players could almost keep the ball on a shoestring to their foot. The second was they ran on Southport beach which made them fitter than other teams. Then there was the comment that if they had said it was because they swam in the River Mersey there would be a queue of teams all doing the same and ending up with food poisoning. These were three examples of silver bullets.

In my work world, I began to stop looking for silver bullets and adopted an approach called day in, day out improvement where I looked for slight changes which, if implemented deliberately and consistently, would change the schools I worked in for the better.

If I can take this approach in my working life, why can I not take the same approach to my health? I have been an eager reader of books which talk about people like Sir Clive Woodward and David Brailsford. Woodward, (English Rugby World Cup winning coach) who said the secret to success was to find a hundred things and do them 1% better. Brailsford (the supremo of British cycling and Team Sky) who talked about the aggregation of marginal gains.

I know that as I approach fifty, any magic answers to staying in trim will either not work or will not be sustainable for the long term. So instead, I need to look for minor changes in my exercise regime which I keep practicing week after week rather than a long run for one week and none for the next two. Even more importantly, I discovered that the marginal gain that I could make in my diet were hugely important and more effective than punishing my body through another work out.

Over my next two blogs, I will give you some ideas as to how I have taken a day in, day out improvement approach to my lifestyle which has had a significant impact on my body shape.

Main photo by Mushtaq Hussain on Pexels